~ This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, The Role of Humility in Our Lives (part 2), from Agathos Church – a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio by clicking here.
“The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” (Ps. 25:9) God so values humility that He identifies the humble as the chosen recipients of his guidance in justice and instruction in His ways. In other words, our dependency on God (our humility) will determine our level of understanding of His ways.
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11) Lucifer was a perfect example of this. He exalted himself and ended up in the lower pit. We, as believers, are also an example of this – but in the opposite direction – we are given an eternal inheritance in Heaven because we humbled ourselves and received Jesus. Your heart stance will determine your trajectory. Pride will send you down. Humility will propel you up.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) The Lord humbled satan. But, because God has given us a freewill, we have choose to humble ourself. God is encouraging us to humble ourselves because it is a beautiful thing to do! Humbling yourself actually equates to beautifying yourself, empowering yourself, and setting yourself free. Remember Jesus came to give life and life abundantly (Jn 10:10). Therefore, if God is encouraging us to humble ourselves, it is for our own good!
“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 18:4) The most humble is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. The world is impressed by what we do. In fact we often are quick to ask a new acquaintance not “tell me about yourself” but “what do you do?”. God is most concerned with the attitude and motivation of our heart in doing what He has called us to do. We look at each other and size each other up according to external appearances. God, on the other hand, looks not at WHAT we do, but HOW we do what we are called to do. (1 Sam. 16:7)
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-3) If you are healing the sick, moving mountains, understanding all things . . . you are great in the eyes of others . . . but if you don’t have the right motivation in your heart, your “accomplishments” amount to a big, fat ZERO in God’s book.
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (1 Cor 1:26-31) It is not God’s will that any flesh would glory in His presence. Generally, God chooses those that are not super-talented to do His work because it is man’s heart to boast in himself and God will not share His glory with any.
It is man’s tendency to come up with reasons why we have even been called and anointed by God for certain ministries. We may think “I was called to preach because I am a great communicator, or because I am very charismatic, or because I am very humble, or because I seek Him, or because I turn from evil.” Even if we can communicate well, it is a GIFT FROM GOD! Even your desire to pray is by the grace of God. All of it is by His grace! “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13, emphasizes mine) This the beauty and craziness of His generosity. The gifting we received was by His grace, our operation in the gifting is by His grace, and our results are of His grace. Every good gift is from Him. Good desires are from Him. Good ability is from Him. Good follow through is from Him. And you probably had a parent or pastor teach you just about everything in Him! :) So why do we boast?!?
Pride is stupidity.
I hope all of this is encouraging you like it is encouraging me. Again, the goal is clarity – not condemnation! More to come from this series on humility . . .